All three of the camera controls in Mattebox are designed to help you quickly lock and compensate different settings on the camera. Combined, they give you unparalleled control. Let’s take a look at each of them, and examine when and why you might use them to lock or compensate.
The white balance of the camera is easily fooled, which can lead to color casts in your photos, or inconsistencies between shots. That’s why white balance is locked by default in Mattebox. But there are times when the lighting changes, and you need to readjust.
For example, if you begin shooting inside, and then step outside, you may notice that the viewfinder beomes bluish. All you need to do is tap the one-touch white balance control to neutralize the image and lock it there.
Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to use the white balance lock for compensation. For example, if you’re shooting trees, the camera will be fooled, and will attempt to neutralize the color by adding magenta—leaving you with distorted colors.
In this case it helps to have something relatively neutral colored handy (such as a piece of white paper or gray cloth). Just fill the viewfinder with the neutral color and tap the white balance control to lock it to the correct color temperature.
Dual-stage shutter release
When you press the dual-stage shutter release, Mattebox locks the focus and exposure until you release your finger. This alone is handy, because it prevents the camera from drifting out of focus or suddenly changing the exposure before you take the photo.
The dual-stage release is extremely helpful for making rapid focus or exposure compensations. For example, when you’re taking a landscape or street photo, sometimes the sky will blow out to white. In this case you can point the camera up to the sky slightly to bring down the exposure; half press to lock; recompose the shot; and finally slide down to take the photo. In the editor you can brighten up the foreground again with the Exposure slider.
Another common situation is a backlit portrait. Just point down to increase the exposure, half press, point at the subject again, and shoot. Finally, you might use the half-press to help take a macro photo with the subject off-center. Position the camera so that the object is in the center of the frame, and let the focus settle until it’s in focus—then half press, recompose, and shoot.
The Professional’s Method
This half-press lock is used on most professional cameras, where it quickly becomes muscle memory. Once you get used to it, it’s even faster than tap-to-expose, because you don’t even need to lift your finger from the shutter release.
The exposure dial, like the dual-stage shutter release, is unique to Mattebox. The dial is backed by an advanced 1024 point matrix metering system, to help you achieve precise adjustments quickly.
As soon as you switch the dial from A (Auto) to M (Manual override), the exposure is locked. Even if you don’t plan to use the dial’s compensation, this is a fast way to lock exposure and keep it locked.
To adjust the exposure up or down, just move the dial. When you release your finger, the matrix metering system will converge on your selected exposure and keep it locked there. This can be useful for making small or precise adjustments, or to help select a particular ISO or shutter speed.
It’s important to note that the Exposure Dial does not lock the focus. So you can continue to use autofocus along with the dual stage shutter release to do focus locking and compensation. This way you can separately lock focus and exposure.
Once the dial is locked, it will determine the range of compensation possible for that view. If the range is very low, there may not be enough contrast in the scene—try temporarily recomposing.
If the metering system is unable to converge on your selected exposure, it will guide you. It may tell you to point the camera at something a little brighter or darker to help it lock on to the correct exposure value. Just keep the camera steady and follow the on-screen directions.
Exposure and focus targets
When the camera is opened, the focus and exposure targets are reset to the center of the frame. This makes it easy to use the dual-stage shutter for focus and exposure compensation; you’ll know it’s locking on the values in the center.
However, sometimes you may want to manually set the focus and exposure targets. To do so, just long press (press and hold) on the viewfinder. It will reset the focus target to wherever your finger is, and you’ll also be able to drag the exposure target to your selected spot.
Relationship to locking
Note that these targets do not lock the focus or exposure; they just provide a new target for the Auto system. If you wish to lock the exposure after moving the exposure target, just move the Exposure Dial to M.
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